2009 grade: B
I’ve never before awarded an A grade and thought I never would, lest I be accused of getting soft. So I searched high and low looking for a reason to knock Watts down a letter grade---I reviewed my notes to see if Watts has ever made a boneheaded argument, interviewed her opponents looking for dirt, trolled through her garbage for incriminating evidence. Nothing but fair trade granola wrappers.
You want political courage? Consider this: very likely, every last homeowner in Watts’ district would’ve seen a tax cut under the “tax reform” proposal---and well over $1,000 for most of them---and yet Watts opposed the plan. She rightly saw that “tax reform” was unjust for social reasons, that it encouraged environmentally destructive suburban sprawl and, in the end, would undermine the social contract that benefits residents in her district. Impressively, Watts has the political skills to convince those residents that they should put the long-term common good above immediate short-term financial gain, and I believe the voters have risen to that vision and support her.
It’s a rare politician who can find common cause with potential opponents through the rhetoric of social justice, but Watts has done exactly that on issue after issue. To cite just one example of many, Watts’ successful initiative to ban bottled water sales in city buildings was sold with the argument that all people have the right to clean potable water from the tap, an appeal that struck a chord with rural councillors concerned about failing wells and access to Halifax water.
Why an A- instead of simply an A? Because nobody’s that good.